When I was a child in Goldenbridge there was a particular nun who occasionally was wont to holding her nose whenever children such as myself arrived in St. Philomena’s classroom. You see we had come directly from the laundry-room after having washing soiled sheets. So inevitably we sported a smelly pong that called for her to tell us that we were dirty articles.
The same denigration was meted out to children who might have wet themselves accidentally after waiting in line / or in the immediate aftermath / or even whilst being flogged by another nun in St. Patrick’s classroom for wetting their beds or some other minor misdemeanour. Children who wet their beds were also severely punished in many other humiliating ways. For instance they had to form a ring around the rostrum in St. Patrick’s (or elsewhere) facing towards the head honcho. Each one stood there shaking and mortified whilst holding up high their soiled sheets, whilst simultaneously being given the run down of the wickedness of their parentage. They were in competition with Mary Magdalen with the officious nasty insults that were hurled at them directly. They were called crackawleys, just like their mother, or were reminded of their alcoholic fathers, or were told that their mothers were good for nothing or were prostitutes.
The soiled underwear of the children who failed the inspection of underwear every Thursday were hung up on a pole in the workroom. This act was to remind children that the same thing would happen to them if they failed the test. I remember always washing my underwear, as did other children down the lavatory toilet late at night and placing them between the sheets or grey army blankets so as to dry overnight from my body heat. I also let them dry naturally on my body, or even better still, found a secret hot pipe in a classroom corner and would sit there quietly. It never failed to do the job in a hurry. Children would do anything unworthy, such as sneaking into the workroom whenever the coast was clear and robbed underwear and stuffed them up their jumpers and fled like lightening from the scene. They would do anything to evade the cruel mortification practices that were routinely part of life in Goldenbridge.
There was also the ghastly practice of children being forced to go around in their soiled nightdresses for a whole week. This was to tell the rest of us that dirty things/articles will not be tolerated in the institution. The industrial school did not do smelly articles. They had ways and means of flushing them out. I should add here that the nun who held her nose up also applied the same act to those who suffered with BO.
Fast forward: I remember my now recently deceased uncle telling me that the Japanese had a different pong and that they did not like the pong of Westerners. I suppose if one were to look at it would it not be due to the survival of the species.
I was reading an interesting study article in a paper today.